Saturday, 24 January 2015

Shadow Study by Maria V Snyder

GoodReads: Once, only her own life hung in the balance.

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret - or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is - while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous.


- Add to GoodReads
Expected publication date: 24/02/15

I love The Study trilogy, so when I heard that there was going to be three more books coming out I was really excited. However, if I'm being honest despite loving Valek, Yelena & the gang I was also a little worried, because sometimes completed series' are best left alone, in my opinion. The reason I say this is because in the past I've had experiences where I've enjoyed a completed series only to find there are going to be more books, and then when said books end up being disappointing it ruins my enjoyment of the whole series.

I'm happy to report, however, that that wasn't the case here! The plot was fast-paced and action packed as usual, and it was great seeing both old and new characters emerge throughout the story. Prior to reading this I decided to re-read the Study trilogy, which I'm glad I did as it helped refresh my mind on the characters and world. There are several references to the events and characters from the Glass trilogy, so if you have read that trilogy it will help you understand said references. However, as someone who hasn't read it I didn't feel lost. I still understood what was happening, so, I don't think you necessarily have to have read it to get the gist of what is going on.

Shadow Study alternates between Yelena's and Valek's POV. It was interesting learning about Valek's past and getting his thoughts on some of the events of the previous books. It made my love for him grow if that's possible.

In Shadow Study Yelena is under attacked by unknown enemies and to make matters worse her magic has been blocked. Valek is also busy trying to undercover the culprits behind some black market trading. The book opens with them together, but shorty after the action kicks off they go their separate ways. Which leads me to my next point...In Poison Study Yelena and Valek are together for the majority of the book, but in the books that follow they are separated for most of it. As much as I love how strong they are independently I would love to see them working together in future books, as opposed to being apart for most of it and only joining together towards the end.

Rating: 

Friday, 23 January 2015

UK cover reveal: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

GoodReads: The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: she used to be part of Adolf Hitler's inner circle. More than a year ago, she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich to live in Oxford, posing as an ordinary German immigrant. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town, and Gretchen is content. Then a telegram sends Daniel back to Germany, and her world turns upside-down when she learns that Daniel is wanted for murder. To save him, she must return to her homeland and somehow avoid capture and recognition by her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as she and Daniel work to clear his name, they discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and escape in time - or will Hitler discover them first?

- Add to GoodReads
Expected publication date: 21/04/15

I'm thrilled to reveal the UK cover for Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman. I had the pleasure of reading an e-arc back in November 2014, and I have to say that I think it is a brilliant conclusion to Gretchen's and Daniel's story.
So, what do you think of the cover?

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Blog Tour: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon (Review & Exclusive Content!)

GoodReads: Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on. 

- Add to GoodReads
Expected publication date: 27/01/15 

I'm so thrilled to be part of this tour! Below you will find my (gushing) review of The Mime Order, and an exclusive piece of content written by Samantha Shannon.

Review:

When The Mime Order came in the post I was beyond excited, because it was one of my most anticipated sequels of 2015. To say that I'm head over heels in love with the first book, The Bone Season, would kind of be an understatement - I mean I've read it three times, first as an e-arc back in August 2013, then again in April 2014, and once more a couple of months prior to TMO's (old) release date.  Am I obsessed? YES. The term book hangover comes to mind when I think about how I felt after finishing The Mime Order. Days after finishing the book I still couldn't stop thinking about it. I kept coming back to it between books, whether to re-read my favourite passages or to just *cough* stare at it. It is definitely, hands down, 100% the best book I read last year, and I will no doubt be re-reading it this year as I wait impatiently for book three.

I have to admit that when I first heard that there was going to be seven books in this series I was a little wary. You see I personally prefer duologies, trilogies or even quartets. The reason for this is because I've found that when series' go past 2-4 books they either become boring and I lose interest, or something happens that is such a complete turnabout it ruins my enjoyment of the books.  Even though I'm still unsure about how the series will pan out into seven books I now have have a better idea, having read TMO, of why there is going to be more than 2-4 books - I don’t think this intricate story Shannon has created would quite fit into a trilogy, etc.

At around 500 pages The Mime Order is a beast of a book, yet it could have been more and I still would have flown through it. The pacing in the first half is slow, and although I'm usually not found of slow-paced sequels it completely worked for me here. I was so invested in the intricate world-building and characters that it just wasn't an issue. The Mime Order picks up exactly where The Bone Season left off, and if you can I definitely recommend re-reading book one, or alternatively if you haven't got time to do that perhaps read this detailed recap posted by the lovely people at Recaptains. As well as fully introducing us to the Seven Seals, The Mime Order, sets the scene for things to come and explores the internal politics of the criminal syndicate of Scion.

I love the slow-burning progression of the romance, because if this is going to be a seven book series I don't want things to move too quickly between Paige and Warden and simmer out. Warden does not appear until half way through the book, and when he does there is obvious tension between them, what with their romance being the forbidden type. Although forbidden romance is a typical trope in YA I think Shannon has done a wonderful job with it, creating tension, yet at the same time straying away from over the top angst and love triangle drama. The romance is well balanced with the rest of the story and if you enjoyed what has now been dubbed by many as the 'crate' scene I think you'll enjoy pages 407- 409 (at least in the ARC it's those pages, not sure about the final copy) because SWOON. I also really like the dynamics of Paige and Warden's relationship; the way they challenge and push each other  is great. I hope Shannon plans on including Warden's POV in future books or perhaps writing a novella from his perspective as I think it would be very interesting to get inside his head.

As I said earlier there is less focus on action in the first half of TMO, and more on the world building and characters. There is political intrigue and we are introduced to the different clairvoyant gangs and characters, including the Seven Seals. As Paige tries to stay under the radar she realises that in order to fight the Rephaim  –whose dark presence you can feel throughout the course of the book despite them not actually being present for the majority of it- she must attempt to convince and bring together the scattered community of clairvoyants. However, as she navigates through the criminal underworld of Scion she soon discovers that the place she calls home is hiding some dark secrets.

In the Mime Order Paige is faced with many challenges and has to make some hard decision, but despite her young age she faces them head on. It was great seeing her grow and I can't wait for more character development in future books. I also found her changing relationship with Jaxon fascinating. After the events of book one she no longer sees him in the same light and wishes to cut all ties to him, but soon finds that it isn’t as easy as that. The second half of the book is where the action kicks off. The build up of mystery as Paige attempts to puzzle together the secrets of the underworld of SciLo is well paced - there is death, blood, and plot twists at every corner which lead to one heck of an ending. I honestly did not see it coming!

Rating: 


Exclusive content:

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Top ten eleven books I read this year!

Conclusions:

The Offering by Kimberly Derting
"But I knew something that Elena hadn't. That the measure of a true queen didn't lie in her magic. It had more to do with who she was, and what she was willing to give of herself, than it did with the powers she possessed."

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi


"We all have the potential to do terrible things. But we also have the potential to overcome our mistakes."

Shattered by Teri Terry


"It doesn't look much from the outside. But what you get outside is often like that. People, especially, can be so different from what you can see that you'd never guess what goes on in their secret places. What they are capable of."

Ruins by Dan Wells 
The Partials trilogy is, in my opinion, underrated. If you're looking for a YA sci-fi book with diversity and a complex set of female characters then I definitely recommend it.

Three by Kristen Simmons
"You need a bath."
His muscles loosened by the slightest degree. "Maybe you could take one with me."
I felt his grin against my neck. "Make sure I don't cut any corners."
My stomach fluttered. "Maybe I will."
He went still.
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo 

“You are all I’ve ever wanted,” he said. “You are the whole of my heart.” 







Sequels:

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
Having read The Bone Season three times it would probably be an understatement to say that I'm head over heels in love with it. The Mime Order, although not due out until next year just had to be included in this list, because it is hands down the best sequel I have read this year! My review should be up soon. 



The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
TPS was a strong sequel, and I love this guest post featured on Carina's blog about keeping up the tension in a middle book without introducing a love triangle.


The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling
Such a brilliant sequel! Loved the mystery and the evolving (and thus far platonic) relationship between Cormoran & Robin.  Also: I was so not expecting the gore!







Standalone:

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Another atmospheric read from Winters! She has this way of expertly blending together historical and paranormal elements.
  
Debut:

The Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
I loved everything about this book, and am super excited for the conclusion!

Did any of these books make it to your favourites?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Mini review: Willowgrove by Kathleen Peacock

GoodReads: Ever since Mac's best friend, Amy, was murdered, Hemlock has been a dangerous place. But now that Mac, her boyfriend, Kyle, and Amy's ex, Jason, have investigated a mass breakout from Thornhill, a werewolf "rehabilitation" camp, the danger has only grown. Fear of the infection spreading is now at an all-time high, and anyone with a scar is suspected of being a wolf.

What makes Mac even more afraid, though, are the dark experiments that the warden of Thornhill was performing on wolves in a secret asylum called Willowgrove. Uncovering the truth about what happened may be the only way for Mac to save everyone she loves and end her nightmares for good.

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Source: Edelweiss
Expected publication date: 06/01/15

Thoughts:

Prior to becoming a book blogger I read YA PNR books, but after I started book blogging my taste for the genre quickly dwindled to the point where I rarely ever read it anymore. Kathleen Peacock's Hemlock trilogy, however, has had me hooked since book one. It's unique, captivating, and not your usual werewolf story!

In regards to the romance I was a little worried about the "love triangle" *highlight to read spoiler* but thankfully Mac didn't waver from her initial love interest, Kyle. Kyle/Jason/Mac could easily have been a full blown love triangle, but instead Peacock handles the situation wonderfully. The relationship between Kyle and Mac hasn't been easy, they've faced many problems, but I love how in Willowgrove you see them both fighting to make it work.

Speaking of relationships, the one between Kyle and Jason hasn't been easy either. They started of as friends, but like Mac and Kyle they were faced with challenges. It was heartwarming to see them both attempting to get back to a good place, and Jason's character development was great to see, too.

Willowgrove, like the previous two books has a dark tone, which Peacock balances out wonderfully with the occasional burst of humour. Plot wise, I love how after the build up of mystery and suspense everything came together and all the loose ends were tied up.  

I would recommend this trilogy to people who enjoy YA Paranormal Romance and also to those who, like me, don't, as you may just be surprised! 

Rating:

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Stacking the Shelves (#23)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga over at Tynga Reviews.

Edelweiss: 

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
Looking forward to seeing how Daniel and Gretchen's story concludes.


 Purchased:

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Another conclusion I'm excited for! 


Library:

OMG! I'm In Love With a Geek by Rae Earl
This was just as funny as the first book. :)


Have you read/do you plan to read any of these books?

Monday, 20 October 2014

Pre-order giveaway: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.
Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:
  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
PRIZES:
(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt) 2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson 3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White 4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt 5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf 6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured) 7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings 8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances) 9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards 11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(1) SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS:
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.
Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!
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